iServe’s mission is to ‘raise a generation of gospel-hearted servant leaders through training, mentoring, and equipping emerging leaders for holistic transformation in Africa and beyond’.
To help them fulfil this mission MAF recently flew a team from iServe Africa to Marsabit, northern Kenya, to provide a 3-day School of Biblical Training (SBT).
Andy Harker, iServe’s Programmes Director, explains: ‘There is an acute training need among clergy in Marsabit Diocese for improved competence in Bible handling, and faithful Christ-centred Bible preaching.’
On the teaching team, Rob Martin, [until recently] the Bishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya's Marsabit Diocese, has been working hard to address this, sending a number of clergy and evangelists to Bible College.
But there are many challenges: cultural and ethnic divisions and conflicts; low financial resources; and the large geographical area covered by Marsabit Diocese, which is isolated and has very poor infrastructure.
Andy continues, ‘Throughout Kenya, preaching tends to have minimal preparation, poor Bible handling and rarely focuses on Christ and the Gospel. Consequently, congregations tend to be spiritually malnourished and ill equipped. One of our main objectives is to equip and train clergy who will then be able to train others, especially evangelists and lay readers.’
Starting each day with prayer, session topics included: the priority of preaching; faithful handling of Scripture; sermon structure and application; discipleship and mentoring; and a variety of other subjects.
Training events are vital for church workers in Marsabit County. Around 25 people from nine different ethnic groups, both clergy and evangelists, men and women, attended the training.
‘It is always difficult to assess the effectiveness and long term impact of such training,’ Andy reflects, ‘But we look forward to continued relationships with a number of pastors.
'These on-going relationships will be particularly important in view of longer term growth in faithful Bible teaching.’
iServe was born out of Mungai Macharia Harrison’s personal experiences of church work in the UK. Harrison, now Executive Director of iServe, returned to Kenya convinced of the great need for Gospel workers in Africa, and with the idea that an apprenticeship programme would be an effective means of developing Christians who could both serve and train others.
iServe Africa officially launched in 2008, when a pioneer group of 14 apprentices was commissioned for service in churches and Christian community projects across Kenya, to gain experience and be trained in gospel ministry. To date over 100 individuals have completed the programme.
The organisation is also running and developing other programmes and resources to serve and encourage the local church in the areas of faithful Bible teaching and servant leadership.